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DCL Technology from Universal Lighting Technologies Slashes Utility Costs in Three School Gymnasiums

Universal DCL technology reduces energy costs in three school gymsConvincing a public school system to retrofit the lighting in a high school gymnasium that was constructed only two years ago is not an easy task. But the energy-saving advantages offered by DCL® Control Systems earned a “yes” from the Silver Lake Regional School District in Kingston, Mass.

It was J&R Industrial Wiring that approached the school district with an opportunity to provide a higher quality of lighting in its gymnasiums at a lower monthly cost by replacing its pulse-start metal halide ballasts with the award-winning DEMANDflex™ ballasts from Universal Lighting Technologies. DEMANDflex ballasts are specifically designed to operate with DCL Control Systems for the most flexible and cost-efficient energy management system in the lighting industry today.

Jim Killion with J&R Industrial Wiring did the math for Silver Lake Regional High School and discovered the school district could save 32,400 kW/h—or about $600 per month—by installing 36 fixtures with two 3-lamp DEMANDflex T8 ballasts each in the high school gym.

A neighboring school district had engaged in a similar retrofit project in one of its school gyms, and the Silver Lake District’s athletic director visited the facility to see the results for himself. With his approval, the district agreed to move forward not just in one school but three facilities under its jurisdiction.

Universal DCL technology reduces energy costs in three school gyms

In addition to the high school, Silver Lake Regional Middle School installed 20 new fixtures with DEMANDflex ballasts and DCL Control Systems, for a savings of 18,000 kW/h or approximately $325 per month. Plus, Dennett Elementary School installed 24 new fixtures for 21,600 kW/h in savings or about $400 per month.

“The coaches like it. There are no dark areas, which you might expect with HID lighting,” said Brian Nogueira, supervisor of buildings, grounds, and maintenance for the Silver Lake Regional School District. “We achieved dollar savings and a better quality of lighting. I’m very satisfied.”

“They work perfectly,” added Killion.

First introduced in 2008, DEMANDflex ballasts feature an adjustable ballast factor in order to provide the exact power level for the required application. DEMANDflex ballasts can be set as low as 50 percent of full power, which eliminates the common problem of over lighting an area and wasting energy.

Universal DCL technology reduces energy costs in three school gymsA DCL Control System is able to communicate with DEMANDflex ballasts at the circuit level so there is no need to install expensive control wiring. Each circuit of ballasts can be individually adjusted to any required power level between full power and 50 percent via building automation systems or standalone controls.

The DCL Control Systems in the Silver Lake school gymnasiums take advantage of daylight harvesting and automated scheduling to save energy. Photocells respond to changes in natural light from the gyms’ skylights and semi-opaque windows. The lights also automatically dim during standard janitorial hours and automatically shut off overnight.

“Daylight harvesting provides a great opportunity for schools to minimize energy costs by utilizing the availability of natural light,” noted Killion. “DCL is the best controllable lighting solution on the market that integrates all of these energy control measures.”

Based on the projected energy savings, the local utility company agreed to offset a substantial percentage of the installation costs for the school district’s new lighting equipment. Including the utility’s incentives, all three Silver Lake School projects are projected to have an attractive payback based upon overall energy savings from DCL.

For more information about Universal Lighting Technologies, visit

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